When I heard about Before I Go To Sleep I couldn’t help but think, “here we go again, it’s another simple romantic thriller with very little to offer the reader beyond a few shocks and a maybe a couple of awws.” But it wasn’t long before I realised this wasn’t just a simple copy and paste story.
Every day our dear heroine Christine wakes up not knowing where she is. Her memories disappear each time she falls asleep. Her husband, Ben, is a stranger to her, and he’s obligated to explain their life together on a daily basis, all because of a mysterious accident that sadly made Christine an amnesiac.
This book is a surprisingly complex thriller filled with intense moments of suspense. Every word of dialogue seems to have a double meaning, causing the reader to question everything they are told. Did this accident actually happen or is it all a manifestation of her own mind?
She wants to run from herself, from her new reality. The reality where she has to learn everything about her life each time she awakens. A reality with this stranger called Ben who claims to be her husband.
Most thrillers make the reader want to scream at the character on the page. Saying things like don’t go there, don’t do that, it’s him run! S.J. Watson has managed to write a book where the reader has become as clueless as the characters as to what is happening and what will happen.
But when you get to the end all the signs have been there, and you were as blind to them as Christine was. You both failed to see them, and you both feel that same sense of being lost and alone.
Like any novel this one has it’s faults as well as its shining moments. For example, in Christine’s diary that she uses to remind her of her new life there is no mention of cell phones. The last real memory she has is from her twenties when there were no mobile phones, and yet throughout the story she is constantly using her cell phone.
This is just a trivial thing of course but with a novel like this all those small overlooked details do stick out. There were more such moments throughout the novel but some are more integral to the plot so I shan’t mention them here.
This book was the author’s first published novel. It is on the whole very well written and edited. It was quickly picked up by Hollywood and was transformed into the movie of the same name starring Mark Strong, Nicole Kidman and Colin Firth.
If you want to get a copy you can head over to Amazon. I strongly recommend this novel if you fancy a good thriller.